In much public life, the idea that ones efforts – whether artistic or educational or economic – should be sustainable is a highly persuasive piece of rhetoric. If your work is any good, the argument goes, and if you want money for it, then you must have a sustainability plan. You must want to see it existing over and beyond the short time of its current life time. If you can’t argue that it’s sustainable, there is an almost automatic burocratic frown placed against the merits of the project. It can’t be that good, they say, if it can’t be sustained. If there’s no more of the same, then what is the point of the project in the first place?
But why? Our lives are unsustainable. Like it or not, our death partners will call for us all one day. No-ones going to be left out of that particular public project. Our lives are the essence of unsustainability so why do we expect it of the artefacts we make, the dreams that we dream ?
Death and decay is much a part of creativity as its more user-friendly sister, birth and generation. Perhaps we should plan for project ending, closure and fading away in the public sector as much as we argue for sustainability, legacy and immortality. It would at least make for much shorter funding applications and mean that the short time we have on this planet has one less burocratic task attached to it.